Employees of the ailing Fox News Channel have been on pins and needles ever since the surfacing of rumors that FNC CEO Roger Ailes might be on his way out the door.
Now, he is out the door.
It is not unreasonable to ask why Ailes would resign if he were innocent of wrongdoing at FNC.
This soap opera started when Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual-harassment lawsuit against him. At that point, it was a simple case of he-said/she-said. After all, nobody else associated with FNC openly defended Carlson.
Then came the CNN story “Former Fox staffers have Ailes stories — here’s why they’re afraid to speak”:
Why are some women who want to support Gretchen Carlson in her sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News CEO Roger Ailes not speaking up publicly? The answer involves strict non-disparagement clauses that some former Fox employees must sign. In confidential interviews with CNNMoney, several women who formerly held on-air jobs at Fox said they believed Carlson’s allegations and have stories of their own. But the women were reluctant to talk, citing the restrictive contract language.”
It is difficult to have a case of he-said/they-said if “they” can’t say anything for fear of being sued for a contract violation. After all, would “they” be able to afford to defend themselves if sued?
One person who could afford a defense is Megyn Kelly.
New York Magazine took the risk of publishing “Sources: Megyn Kelly Told Murdoch Investigators That Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Her”:
“As a chorus of prominent Fox News women have gone public defending Roger Ailes against the wave of sexual-harassment allegations sparked by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit, the network’s biggest star, Megyn Kelly, has been conspicuously silent. Kelly’s refusal to join in Ailes’s orchestrated defense has led to speculation about why.
Now we have the answer. According to two sources briefed on parent company 21st Century Fox’s outside probe of the Fox News executive, led by New York–based law firm Paul, Weiss, Kelly has told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her about ten years ago when she was a young correspondent at Fox. Kelly, according to the sources, has described her harassment by Ailes in detail.”
The public may never be told why Ailes is out at FNC. A lack of a public disclosure could fuel speculation that Gretchen Carlson is telling the truth about Ailes making inappropriate sexual comments to her.
Other speculation pertains to how FNC personalities might respond to Ailes’ departure. Breitbart reports, “At least one top talent inside Fox News has confirmed to Breitbart News that a major talent meeting among various different hosts is scheduled, and they are considering leaving with Roger Ailes to form a new network to compete with Fox.”
FNC would definitely be ailing if there were a sudden exodus of its personalities. However, ailing organizations can be resilient. The world will soon find out just how resilient the Fox News Channel is.
Side Note: Yes, it could be that Ailes was told by his bosses to either resign or be fired. If that is the case, then what do the latter know about the former that would provoke such an ultimatum?